MILLEDGEVILLE -- The tempo favored Holy Innocents, and Crawford County had a rough fourth quarter at the free-throw line.
But the Eagles survived an afternoon of subpar execution to stop Holy Innocents 61-51 on Friday in a GHSA Class AA Tournament boys quarterfinal at Georgia College.
The Eagles (25-3) were not as active on offense as head coach Clyde Zachery would like, killing the final 1:40 of the second quarter in the spread and trying to do so for the final 2:10 of the third only to turn it over.
The Golden Bears led by a point after one, but Jeremy Raines hit a 3 and Marcal Knolton scored on a tip-in for a 20-16 lead less than a minute into the second quarter.
Holy Innocents scored on three trips to pull within 29-26 at halftime, the Eagles going scoreless for the final three minutes.
The Golden Bears went from down 11 to down three in the third quarter but managed only a bucket through the first half of the fourth quarter as Crawford County took control.
FOUR WHO MATTERED
Knolton: The 6-foot-7 junior neared a triple-triple with 14 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks before fouling out with 2:09 left. The Golden Bears couldn't take any advantage of his absence.
William Jarrell: The lanky senior led the Eagles with 17 points despite going scoreless in the third quarter.
Brent Duncan: The solid 6-7 senior was always near the ball inside and led the Golden Bears with 19 points before fouling out with 29.8 seconds left.
Raines: He also came up empty in the third quarter but finished with 11 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers in the second quarter.
THE TURNING POINT
The Eagles were amid another drought, a combination of bad passes and forced shots, in the third quarter. The Golden Bears found a little momentum and pulled within three but then went scoreless on the final three possessions, one ruined by Knolton's block and rebound, which was followed by a blocking foul by Holy Innocents' Harrison Cobb in transition.
Ouch: Jarrell hit the floor while dribbling on one early fourth-quarter possession, but he kept his dribble despite scraping his knee. The reigning All-Middle Georgia Player of the Year left temporarily and emerged from the locker room with a bandage on his knee and an ice pack on his lower back.
Line struggles: Had the Eagles been proficient at the free-throw line, some backups would have seen more time. Crawford County was 8-for-17 from the line in the second half.
THEY SAID IT
Zachery on the Eagles' offense: "We were kind of standing around. We didn't move. We passed the ball and just stood around. There wasn't the movement I would like for us to do to get better shots. We settled a lot of times for the first shot."
Jarrell on the Eagles' overall performance: "We had to get over the jitters. We had to get used to the atmosphere, the feel of the court. We're not used to not having that brick wall (behind the goals) ."
Zachery on Holy Innocents' defense: "We wanted to push it more, but they played more man defense than a lot of teams play. I think they played a little better man and help defense, and we had some turnovers."
Jarrell on the Eagles' bouts of sluggishness: "Offensively, this was probably one of our worst games of the season. We did stand around. But we rebounded well."
Zachery on Crawford County's intensity: "We look at certain teams and we kind of, we just don't bring that 'A' game all the time. Against the better ballclubs, we have a tendency to bring a little bit more. Not that they're not a good team. It's just that we don't always do that."
Crawford County plays the Thomasville/Pace winner at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday at Georgia College.